Geworfen

Part 1:

Today is a Wednesday and for the most part, as far as the world is concerned, it is a day of very little significance.   There are wars being fought, people dying and people being born.  Today is normal.  However, as far I am concerned, today is very different.  Today is the day I have decided to kill myself, but I am not sure if I am the one who decided this fate.   I am sitting in a brown corduroy chair that has been worn-out from years of doing this— and by this I mean sitting, drinking bourbon and starring into oblivion.  When I say that I am not sure if I decided to commit suicide, I am not implying that the decision is pending, as it is not— I am going to do it.  What I am questioning is if it is a decision I made or not.  I am pretty confident that the decision was made on my behalf, by fate, as they say.  But, I really do not think that matters- who am I to deny fate?    To explain how I came to this dilemma, we need to go back to roughly 13 months ago.

Last year around August, which also happen to be around my birthday (although I am not sure if that matters) I was sitting in this exact chair, drinking the exact same brand of bourbon, in, most likely, the same glass.  I had an especially shitty day at work, nobody at work ever gives me credit or even recognizes my existence.  I am merely a phantom that floats around completing tasks, that other people claim as their own.  My introversion and proclivity towards passive aggression has made this pattern remain a constant in my life— inclusive of my interpersonal relationships as well.

While barely propped up in my dirty brown chair by fast fading sobriety I grabbed my barely functioning laptop and went on to Craigslist in search of a new job.  Deep down I do not think I was expecting to find a better job, or any job, at that matter, but I was really looking for hope.  I wanted to see job postings that sounded crappier than my job — to give me hope that I am not absolute rock bottom.   After spending an hour reading craigslist job postings I failed in both finding anything with potential and at finding jobs that seemed shittier than mine.  I am not qualified for anything, except the pathetic job that I barely cling to.  Fuck this I said out loud and rather loudly- even shocking myself.   I slammed my laptop closed, making a dramatic point to an audience of nobody.

I sat quietly and sipped my bourbon.  Then after several sips and deep breaths I opened my laptop again and clicked ‘services’ on the homepage and electronically thumbed through the listings— looking for a service request that I would be qualified for.  I am not really looking for money, but just some validation.  I want to help somebody with something and be acknowledged, noticed and, fuckin eh’, given credit for something.  After scrolling several days back-in-time a very odd listing stood out to me.   It was posted 4 days ago and the title was written as:

SUICIDE SWAP 

I clicked the link and found the following ad:

I am seeking an individual who is willing and capable of assisting me in my suicide, and in exchange for this service I will assist you in your suicide one year after mine is complete.   I will dictate the means and terms of my mine, as will you dictate the means and terms of yours.   No money will be exchanged and no contract will be necessary. 

Serious inquiries only.  If posting is still up, the offer is still on the table.  

I read the posting in my head several times over and even out loud a couples times.  What does this mean?  How can this person assist me a year later if they’re dead?  Will a proxy help them?  I have thought about suicide many times but its always in the context of doing some grandiose act that will make my friends, family and co-workers feel guilty for neglecting me— I call it the ‘I’ll show them!!” reasoning.  I wonder what their reason is, their reason for wanting to die that is.  Why cant they do it without my help?  Maybe they, like I do, lack the courage to take the bold leap and need somebody to help nudge them over the cliff.  I came to the conclusion that I am not sure what to do with this posting, but I certainly should not decide while drunk.  I closed my laptop, microwaved a burrito, ate it quietly and slowly fell asleep on the couch watching golf.

For the next week I was completely consumed by this thought.  So much so that I started to make a list of what I had to live for and what I had to die for.  I cataloged my daily activities and kept score:

 

Daily Activities

Reason to live

Reason to die

Waking up at 5am for work

X

My shower that is sporadically cold

X

The oatmeal my doctor makes me eat

X

My dirty beat up honda

X

Traffic on the way to work

X

Listening to self-help books in the car

X

My job

X

My windowless cubicle

X

Tabitha, my cute co-worker that I walk past 10 times a day

X

Lunch (salad my doctor makes me eat)

X

Lunchtime solitude

X

Failed attempts at socializing with co-workers

X

How fast post-lunch at work flies by

X

Leaving work

X

Traffic on my way home

X

Bourbon

X

Shitty dinner

X

Baseball on TV

X

Sleep

X

 

I made a chart like this for the period of an entire week and tried to be as objective and open as possible to all the things in my life that made life worth living or not.  After one week I had 63 reasons to live and 105 reasons to die.  So death is 60% more compelling to me than life.  After completing my week long study I sat in my chair and decided to email this person and take them up on their offer.  I poured a drink and yet another, and yet another.  I passed out in my chair and never emailed them.  I woke up in a crumpled position with a stiff back and a glisten around my mouth from my own drool.  I shamefully dragged myself to bed— I am even a coward at being a coward.   While I was laying in bed I realized that my study is invalid as I did not have a control group to compare myself to.  Maybe everybody is 60% in favor of dying.   I am not sure if my drive is motivated from a deep down desire to live or a deep down desire to be thorough in my analysis.

The next day I Googled happiness quiz and found one and I took it and I scored 27% happy.  I retook the quiz and lied about all the answers to force a high happiness score and then I shared that score on Facebook to get my so called friends to play along too.  My friends scored, on average, 87% happiness, which was 5% higher than my fake score.  Showing that I cant even fake happiness that is better than the mean.  Because I have nothing better to do I plotted all the scores and discovered my happiness is 3 standard deviations below the mean.  This makes me unhappier than 99.75% of the population, and according to Wikipedia 1.5% of the people in the world die from suicide.  So, statistically speaking this should be my means of death.  I then say to myself in my head a statement that generally annoys my coworkers: numbers don’t lie. 

I responded to the ad after work:

Dear fellow sad-human,

I read your posting a little over a week ago and have been pondering the decision constantly since then.  I have spent ample time weighing the pros and cons of my life and I have come to the conclusion that my life is not worth living. I have also come to the conclusion that helping you in your final act, as a service, would to some degree give me a sense of meaning and accomplishment in my last year.  I will die knowing I helped somebody with something that was bigger than themselves.   I am not sure if there is a vetting process at all, but I am hopeful that you select me and we get to proceed as soon as possible.  

Sincerely,

a friend

He replied within the hour:

You were the only person to respond.  I accept your offer.  Meet me in two weeks, on Saturday at sunset in the middle of the golden gate bridge on the ocean side.   Come alone and bring a bicycle.  

-Jack

I responded simply, “copy that, I will be there”

The next two weeks I floated through life in a state of complete numbness.  Akin to that odd feeling a person feels as you commute from from a wake to a burial of a close friend.  Do you listen to the radio?  Do you sit in your car and grieve in idle— a null emotional space.  Anytime you are touched with death it opens the door of realization, to the reality that life is temporary, that we are mortal and that one day you will be on the other side of the door.  It’s better to live life with all those doors closed and just run down the hallway as if it never ends, even though you know it will.   For those two weeks I sat in the hallway on my hands in front of an open door, a door I opened and a door that is not for me.  Nothing else seemed to matter.  Everything I ate tasted like cardboard and every act seem to be mechanical and if I felt any emotion at all, it felt contrived and bitter.

The only thing I did outside of my normal life was buy a bicycle on craigslist — it cost $35 and it was blue, like hope.  I arrived roughly twenty minutes early to the spot I was told to go to and so did my sad companion.   He saw no reason to wait the additional 20 minutes and thought we’d get down to business immediately.  He explained that I need to go about 50 yards away from him and he would climb the railing and sit on the edge with his legs dangling over the edge and once he was in that position I had to start riding the bicycle towards him and as I passed him I need to ride very close to him and nudge him over the edge and then keep riding, as if it was accident and as if it never happened.  It sounded simple enough and I rode to my carefully selected stage entrance.  He climbed the wall as he explained he would and sat there.  He starred into the horizon as if he was meditating and completely calm and at peace with this decision.  In fact, out of context I would say he looked happy.   I started my fifty yard bike ride down the bridge.  A jogger, who was running towards me saw him climb onto the edge and started sprinting towards him and I responded by pedaling faster— it was a race and it was going to be close.   We converged at the exact same time and I ran into the side of the bridge and my shoulder slammed into him and knocked him over and at the same time I slammed into the runner and she was knocked to the ground.  I started to get back on the bike and continue my ride, as if nothing happened.  The two seconds it took to rebalance myself and begin riding seem to last forever as the jogger sat on the ground and intently starred at me— judging and condemning me.  I continued on.   I looked back and saw her on her cell phone and she was pacing and panicking and every now and then peering over the bridge, where she saw nothing but very calm water.

I biked back to my car and got in and drove home.  I didn’t even bring the bike with me, I left it where my car was.  In hindsight, as I was driving, I realized that I may have just committed a crime and that I just left evidence, but then I realized that I was wearing gloves the entire time and there is no way to tie the bike back to me, in fact its most likely for the better that I left it.  I drove home and picked up a burger and fries and went home and ate and fell asleep in my clothes.  I slept for the next 24 hours, like a peaceful hibernating bear.  I only awoke to shower and go back to sleep and I slept till Monday morning.

Part 2:

The next nine months of my life were absolutely wonderful.  As it now seemed as if nothing really mattered anymore.  I could blow off work projects and nobody seemed to care.  I could pay my bills late or not at all and it didn’t really make a difference.  I bought the most expensive food possible and ate like the rich.  I lived a life of indulgence and drained all my savings in the process.  I didn’t tell anybody about my plan and I did not forge any new relationships- romantic or otherwise.  But, in my introverted hermit lifestyle, I was a king.  I should have planned out or at least budgeted better, so that I could have had my savings last the entire last year, but that was not the case.  I spent the last 3 months of my life living a modest existence, just as I did before.

My first day back in my mundane life of microwavable burritos and corona allowed me to be alone with my thoughts for the first time in 9 months.   And in this solitude of zero distraction I started to think why I had been living how I had been living.  Did I feel bad for, in essence, murdering somebody?  Or was I going out with a bang?  I had no children to leave my money to, so why does it matter?  Why not spend it all?  I came to the conclusion that I am perfectly entitled to live it up before I die.  I finished the six pack and fell asleep.

As the days, that is my final days, started to fall off the calendar I started to think how this is going to work?  How does a dead person assist me in committing suicide?   I decided to do some research and figure out who Jack is.  I went online and found his obituary and found out his hame was John Jacobs, but he went by Jack.  He was 38 years old and he was born and had lived in San Francisco is entire life.  He was single and never married and had no children.  With some clever internet work and for the cost of $20 I was able to get his home address and I decided to go there after work and see if I can get anymore insight in how I am going to die.

I arrived at his house around 6:30pm and, since it was July, it was very light out.  He lived in a small house in the Sunset and there was a For Sale sign sitting in front.  I walked to the front door and the door looked like it had been recently pried open, like with a crowbar.  This stood out to me because the house looked like it was recently painted and cleaned— the realtor has been trying to remove the stigma of selling the home of a suicide victim.  The only flaw was the chipped away paint and the imprint of a crowbar.  I peered into the window that was adjacent to the front door and I was able to catch a glimpse of the inside through a small crack in the drapes.  And in the living room I saw a woman sitting on the floor with piles of drawers stacked around her and papers sprawled out in chaos in every direction.  She was sitting their reading paper after paper and once she finished reading something it went into one pile or another.  She partially pivoted my direction to put something in a pile and that’s when I caught a glimpse of her face and realized she was the woman from the bridge, she was the runner.  My heart began to race and I quickly scurried back to my car and drove, inadvertently, in the wrong direction.  After a few miles I realized I was going the wrong way and I found my bearings and turned around and went home.

As I was driving home I thought hard to figure out why that woman was in the house and what she was doing.  I suddenly remembered that the obituary said the cause of death was suicide, but anybody who saw what I did might think it was murder, or, at bare minimum, man slaughter.  Perhaps she is trying to find out who I am and perhaps find evidence against me.  It is probably best that I stay away from that house.

Even though I knew it was advantageous to stay away from that house, curiosity plagued my spirit and I had to know more about Jack, and more so, that woman.  So every night that week I went to his house after work and parked outside and waited for her, and eventually, after several weeks of doing this I found her patterns.  Every Wednesday and Friday around 4pm she came snooping around.  She broke in the first time with the crowbar but she has seems to leave the backdoor unlocked and the side gate slightly ajar- this is her point of entry.  Once I was confident she would not arrive on a Thursday, I did instead.  I entered the house through her route and to ensure she doesn’t arrive and startle me, I locked the gate and chained the front door and made sure there was no crack in the front curtains.  I spent hours going through all the same papers that she went through and for the life of me could not make any sense of how she was sorting everything— there was no rhyme or reason to any of her piles.  Out of frustration and boredom I stopped and went to the kitchen to rummage for something to eat and/or drink.  The refrigerator was completely empty and the freezer only contained some frozen burritos— this made complete sense, since he died 9 months ago.  I warmed up the burrito and then rummaged through the cabinets as I waited.  I found, what seemed like, an entire cabinet dedicated to bourbons and ryes— my eyes lit up.  I grabbed 3 bottles that caught my eye and smelled each and poured myself a glass of one at random.  The microwave beeped and I grabbed my steaming hot, yet most likely ice cold inside, burrito and bourbon and walked into the living room.   I sat in his old leather chair and propped my feet upon his ottoman and did as I usually do.  From a point of calmness and relaxation, most likely from the bourbon, I finally felt at ease and I started to look around the room and at that point I realized the obvious.   The women was unable to find any connection or clues or reasons for his untimely death, because there was not any reason.  His home, like mine, has no style, no art and more especially, no spirit.  It is just an empty shell that he crawls into, to hide from the world, just like my home.  His life and my life are the same.  He is, as much me, as I am him.

I decided I need to walk around a bit and explore his home.  His bedroom was clean and neat.  His clothes were similar to mine and all neatly hung up, like mine.  His alarm clock was set to 5am, just like mine.  The further I investigated his home, the more I realized that this could be my home and there was not a single detail that differed from me to him.  The profundity of all these observations of Jack began to overwhelm me a bit and I needed to sit down again— this could be the bourbon talking, of course.  I sat down and thought long and hard about this very peculiar situation.  Did he know me? Was this a set-up?  I guess in a way this makes sense, as he did say he was going to help me commit suicide and I guess knowing that his life was just as shitty as mine and he died, then it makes sense that I die.  He, in essence, is validating my decision.  I decided I should leave, but first I should leave a letter for this woman and clear up that loose end.

Dear lady who breaks into the homes of dead people,

I am the man, who you saw bump Jack off the bridge, but I want you to know that it was all part of a plan.  He asked me to do it, for he did not have the courage to commit suicide himself.  I understand that you, in your mind, witnessed a murder and wanted to make sense of it all and are here are trying to find information to help figure it out.  But I want to tell you there is nothing to figure out, he is gone and that is what he wanted.  If you have any questions you can email me at JacksDead@yahoo.com

Sincerely,

Man on the bridge

 

I went home slowly, as I was drunk, and passed out immediately in my bed.

I awoke the next morning with a pep in my step as I now had a sense of understanding of why he did it and why I am going to do it.  We’re the same and it makes total sense now.  My suicide deadline was less than a week away now and I have formally decided that I am going to overdose on pills and, hopefully, die in my sleep.  I spent ample time on the internet researching many different ways to do this and all of the caveats that could turn this into a failed attempt and I was pretty confident that I was going to get this right.

I spent the final week getting all of my finances in line, which included making sure my last Will and Testament were in order— I wanted everything to go to my nieces and nephews, or at least what was left.   Additionally I think cremation is more symbolic to the frailty of human existence and I wanted to make sure that request is known to the powers that be.   The final day rolled around, and as I planned it, it was going to be on a Saturday— my favorite day of the week.  That Saturday morning I woke up and went out to brunch to my favorite brunch spot— I ate eggs florentine and had 4 mimosas.  I came home in high spirits and since my suicide plan was more of an evening plan, I carried on with my regular activities.  I checked my email and received the following email to the fake email address I created for the woman:

Dear Man on the Bridge,

From the implications of your letter it seems that the two of you had a pre-meditated plan to meet on the bridge and for him to die and even though I don’t want it to be true, I know it is.  Two weeks prior to seeing you on the bridge I received the following email:

“Dear Madison,

You may not know who I am, or believe me when I tell you who I am, but i am your father.  I know that to you, Kate and Arnold Jones are your parents and they may or may have not told you that you were adopted, but I am here to tell you that you were.  Your mother got pregnant while in High School and she did not tell me this was the case.  She hid her pregnancy from me, because at that point in time I had a bit of a temper and in all honesty, she was afraid of me.  She had the baby in secrecy and gave her up for adoption, also in secrecy.  Her parents (your grandparents) helped arrange this.

A couple years after you were born while out drinking with your mom we got into an argument, as we always did when drunk, and she blurted out that she had a baby and gave it away.  But not because she didn’t want it, but because she couldn’t stand the idea of me being a father— it “disgusted” her.  In a drunken response to her claim I accidentally knocked her down the stairs and killed her.  I was not sure what to do with her, so I drove to the Golden Gate bridge and dumped her body over the side in the middle of the night.  In hindsight, I am not sure how anybody did not see me do this.  My life from the instant her head slammed into the tile on the bottom of the stairs to today has been an absolute blur of hollowness and everyday I think it will change or get better, but it doesn’t.  For years I have wanted to reach out, meet you, bond with you and know you…but, even though I hated your mother for what she said, deep down, I knew she was right.  Your life was better off without me and still is.

I have decided that I need to, as they say shit or get off the pot.  So in two weeks on Saturday at Sunset I will join your mother in the bliss of the unknown… if this is fate you do not want, I presume you’ll try to change it.

Sincerely,

The Father you never knew”

I was there to stop it and you wouldn’t let me.  That is a fate you must live with.

Madison

I sat in my chair and read the email a few times. My mind was in a spinning daze and I did not know how to process this information.  Was I not supposed to kill him, did I fuck up?  Was this some elaborate ploy to get into the good graces of his daughter— perhaps the ploy of a crazy person, but a ploy nonetheless.  I did more than help somebody die, I killed a man in front of his own child and she was there to save him.  I knew what needed to be done.

I hopped in my car and drove to the Golden Gate Bridge, I parked on the Marin side and walked to the middle and at sunset I jumped.  The fall took longer than I thought it would and with the wind bustling through my clothes and hair, the cool breeze zipping through my nose and the vista of the ocean expanding out into infinity— for the first time in my life I felt alive and for what felt like an eternity, but was really only a few seconds, I was free.

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